AMBULANCE COMMITTEE MEETING MINUTES
13 MAY 2022
Chairman Commissioner David Wamble opened the meeting inviting Commissioner Roger Reedy to offer a prayer and lead the pledge. Chairman then asked for a motion to approve the minutes of 7 March 2022. Commissioner Joyce Woodard moved for approval, with Commissioner Terry Harwell seconding. Motion approved.
First Agenda Item – Discussion of 2022-2023 budget. Chairman asked Director, Financial Management, Beth Moore-Sumners to address the proposed budget. Beth stated she, County Executive Melissa Greene, Ambulance Department Head Roy Griggs and associate Chastity Hobbs had met the previous day to develop and discuss the proposed budget. She further stated that she considered this budget one of the better developed budgets for the county. She then proceeded to discuss Budget Line Item (BLI) 55130 for the Ambulance Service. She showed Audited actual 2020-2021, Estimated Actual 2021-2022 (based on actual through April plus projected based on previous years or known upcoming expenses), Amended Budget 2021-2022, and Proposed Budget 2022-2023, covering categories within the BLI. Items of note: Salaries – Roy’s salary increases by 5% as required by state; Sergeant(s) increased to 4 due to new shift hours/days; EMTs includes an increase of $75 for additional reporting requirements; Medical Personnel base salary only and an additional $10K for drivers (if approved by state to allow use of personnel as drivers only); Secretarial increase; Overtime pay increased by $350K (funding moved here 187 from 131); State Retirement includes new guidance changing the new net percentage discount factor to 6.95 compared to previous of 4.07 for the unfunded pension liabilities; Medical Insurance showed a fully staffed insurance amount. At this time a motion by Roger and seconded by Commissioner David Adams to remove $75k from this category was made based on the improbability of being fully staffed. Commissioner Gayle Jones asked what are the chances the Ambulance Service will be fully staffed for the proposed budget, and Roy said thought they were good but mentioned delays in hiring. David Adams asked if overtime could then be cut and Commissioner Judy Pruett asked about the term “guaranteed OT” which the Director used to show different hours required in different pay periods. Motion to remove the $75K from this category was approved.
Re Janitorial Services – Roy said they clean once a week, but not the ambulances since the crews are responsible for those. They also do the North and South stations. The License category has increased due to specific licenses required by state. It was noted at this time that all costs associated with vehicle use are up, for example gas and tires. However, with 8 ambulances there is no requirement for a new ambulance this budget year. Drugs and Medical Supplies were discussed with the concern about availability and the different options pursued to lower that cost. A motion by David Wamble to increase this line by $25K using funds from the $75k removed earlier from category 187 overtime was made, seconded by Joseph Sutton. Questions at this time about should budget reflect less or more risk in terms of amount budgeted. Role call on motion. Motion failed 3 – 4, with Wamble, Joseph and Joyce voting yes. Except for the water and sewer category, most of the other categories had little discussion, with Beth giving backup information on the small percentage increases. A motion by Roger and seconded by Gayle to decrease that line by $750 was made and approved. Beth then gave a new total of $3,440,718, with the removal of the $75K and the $750 from water and sewer. On asked about revenue, she said $2.2M resulting in subsidizing the ambulance service out of county funds by $1.2M. Chairman Wamble asked if any more discussion, and none by Commissioners but Beth did note that some personnel costs such as workman compensation are lumped together under her office and do not show on each department budget. Roger moved that the new total of $3,440,718 be approved by this committee and forwarded to the budget committee. Terry seconded. Motion approved.
Second Agenda Item – Update on Baptist Association building. County Executive Melissa Greene provided copies of the appraisal for the building, as of November 2021, that being $793K. Their asking amount as of this date of $1.3M. Melissa had previously asked a local contractor if they would give a ball park estimate to bring the building up to a more useful ambulance service need, but the contractor had not provided that estimate at this time. Just in various discussions on other updated building an estimate of $700K was mentioned. The site has over 10 acres although not all acres are useful as building sites, that being more likely 5 acres. Director Roy Griggs said from an earlier architectural design that at least 4 acres would be required for a new location. Several ideas were floated around such as add stations east and west and/or Minor Hill easing the requirement for the central location; use existing county owned property at the Ag-Park, setting aside 2 acres; have land for new building and build what is needed vs using an existing building (Baptist); been looking since 2007, so not going to find the ideal building/location; still use current location for storing vehicles and other items not required on a daily basis so that other building wouldn’t need as much renovation; use sale of existing property to offset cost of new location (county has other needs that could be met through the existing building); E911 a potential user of land not required by ambulance service on Baptist Association site and could thus offset cost; and quicker if county did buy the property first before discussing/getting consensus from E911. Roy voiced concerns over some of the ideas by discussing time involved in reaching certain parts of the county, needs during a disaster, and Baptist building would need renovations for living quarters. There is a stated time limit given to the county by the Association before they list, and they said another church is interested. Commissioner Jones mentioned the increasing cost of all properties, and she thought this was a good price. A motion by Terry to make an offer of $1M was seconded by Chairman Wamble. Gayle said she thought they would not accept that offer and that the offer should be $1.3M, the asking price. She made an amended motion to that effect. Joyce seconded. Commissioner Mike Cesarini said, since we don’t have all the facts to vote for $1M or more and when the actual problem for the service is lack of staff, we shouldn’t approve a $1M expenditure at this time. If, he said, you take the capital projects out of this budget, it represents a 10% increase and the service is now limited to emergency services without the more income producing hospital to hospital trips. So less service and significantly increased costs. If concerns for over-crowded four years ago, why now a new building. Per Mike, the county has other needs, new schools, courthouse remodeling. Roy mentioned some of the possible hires and stated the whole country has this problem. Chairman Wamble called for a role call on the $1.3M offer and that motion failed 4-3 with Gayle, Joyce and Terry voting for the $1.3M offer. Chairman Wamble then called for a vote on the $1M offer and it passed 6 – 1 with David Adams voting no. This action will now progress to the budget committee and potentially to the full commission.
With no old or new business, Terry Harwell moved for adjournment with Gayle Jones providing the second. Motion approved.
Attendees: Commissioners David Wamble (Chairman), Joseph Sutton, Terry Harwell, Roger Reedy for Duane Jones (absent), David Adams, Gayle Jones for Brad Butler (absent), Joyce Woodard Other Commissioners: Stoney Jackson, Rose Brown, Bill Cary, Judy Pruett, Mike Cesarini, Tim Risner, Tracy Wilburn, Tommy Pollard, and Larry Worsham Other: County Executive Melissa Greene, Ambulance Director Roy Griggs, Financial Management Beth Moore-Sumners, Nancy Griffin, and the public